Why Are the Expressions “Holy Mackerel”, “Holy Smokes”, and “Holy Cow” Blasphemous?

As innocent as it seems today, the expression “holy mackerel” began as a blasphemous Protestant oath against the Friday fish-eating habit of Catholics.

The fish was an early symbol of Christianity.

Likewise, “holy smokes” is a snide reference to religious incense burning, while “holy cow” is a shot at Hindus who consider cows sacred.

why are the expressions holy mackerel holy smokes and holy cow blasphemous

“Holy moley” is an abbreviation of “holy Moses.”

Euphemisms are used as curses without direct reference to a religious icon.

Even though it is clear what they mean, it is a way of swearing without offending the pious.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.